Article courtesy of Popular Mechanics:
When we think of home-grown tech heavyweights, names such as SpaceX’s Elon Musk and space tourist Mark Shuttleworth immediately spring to mind. For reasons that make perfect sense, these guys capture a fair slice of the limelight – but make no mistake, they’re not the only show in town. In reality, South Africa produces a good number of modest geniuses, some of them sharply focused on solving the burning issues of the day. Somerset West resident William Graham is definitely one of these.
Graham first appeared on PM’s radar back in mid-2005, when we heard about his reverse osmosis desalination system (our article describing his work was published in June that year). His revolutionary approach to the production of fresh drinking water dramatically reduced the costs, both financially and environmentally, to the point where it became a practical alternative for thirsty regions such as ours.
Needless to say, the Middle East welcomed him with open arms. Today, about 100 water plants worldwide use his technology, and the largest, in Singapore, produces a staggering 55 million litres of drinking water each day.
Amazingly, despite his international success and solid inventor credentials, Graham remains largely unknown in his own country – until now. The introduction of his modular, fully automated plastics-to-fuel processing plant is about to make some very influential people, and very large businesses, sit up and take notice.
The beauty of Graham’s patented system is that it can accommodate all types of plastics (except PVC, because of its chlorine content) as well as vehicle tyres. Even that environmental baddie, polystyrene foam – used in takeaway containers and gadget packaging – can be used as feedstock.